Mobile Ad Spending to Top $18 Billion in 2014

by Jeff Wiener on January 28, 2014

If you thought the torrent of annoying mobile advertising pop-ups was bad before, well hold on to your hats folks, its about to get so much worse. According to market analysis firm Gartner, mobile advertising spending will mirror the creation of an avalanche over the next few years, topping $18 billion by next year, a relatively small snowball that will cascade into a $41.9 billion industry by 2017, swallowing everything in its path.

It should come as no surprise that Gartner predicts the North American market will lead the mobile advertising charge, given this market’s size coupled with its variety of digital content platforms, but over the next few years several burgeoning markets, particularly China and India, will enjoy the same annoyances that we do.

But my own personal distaste for mobile advertising aside, one thing is abundantly clear: if companies are willing to spend billions for a mobile presence users on the other end must be clicking on those ads, and given the fact that advertising is increasingly becoming personal and user specific, those clicks will only increase going forward.

“Over the next few years, growth in mobile advertising spending will slow due to ad space inventory supply growing faster than demand, as the number of mobile websites and applications increases faster than brands request ad space on mobile device screens,” said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.

“However, from 2015 to 2017, growth will be fuelled by improved market conditions, such as provider consolidation, measurement standardization and new targeting technologies, along with a sustained interest in the mobile medium from advertisers.”

Simply put, the only reason that we’re not seeing an exponential explosion of mobile advertising growth right now is because companies haven’t got on board yet, meaning there’s lots of ad space available in the mobile world, but businesses are still delusional enough to think they don’t need it.

But that said, it won’t be long because companies around the globe discover that in order to reach this generation of consumers they have to be present where those users are, and that place is undeniably the mobile space.

Briefly, in regards to the different ad formats utilized in the mobile market, the standard mobile display ads (those annoying pop-ups) are “collectively the single biggest category of ads,” and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But given the advances in both data networks and targeted advertising, both audio/video advertising and location/user specific ads will see a marked increase as well, as companies explore the best ways to get us to pay attention.

In the end, as annoyed as we all might be by those mobile ads that pop up at exactly the wrong times, at least take solace in the fact that in a world where the presence of advertising is as ironclad as death and taxes, that going forward such mobile advertising may actually be an informative and engaging tool that leads us to the products and services we need and want, instead of the advertisement I’m seeing now preaching the benefits of continued education as a dental hygienist…its like they don’t know me at all.

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